256GB iPhone X now costs a staggering $1,699 in India as Apple hikes prices yet again

The Indian government is essentially forcing Apple to set up local manufacturing.

Apple cannot catch a break in India. The government increased import duties from 10% to 15% at the end of last year, and with Apple yet to set up a manufacturing facility for most iPhone models in the country, it had to raise prices of its devices.

In its 2018 Union budget, the government announced that it is once again increasing import duties, this time to 20%. The doubling of the duties in under two months means Apple is once again hiking the prices of most iPhones models sold in India, with the 256GB iPhone X now retailing for an eye-watering ₹1,08,930, which comes out to an equivalent of $ 1,699.

To put things into context, the first price correction increased the cost of the iPhone X to ₹1,05,720 ($ 1,649), up ₹5,720 from its launch price of ₹1,02,000 ($ 1,590). With the latest price hike, the iPhone X is now ₹6,930 ($ 110) costlier than when it made its debut in the country at the end of 2017. Meanwhile, the 64GB variant of the iPhone X has also seen a similar hike, from ₹89,000 a few months ago to ₹95,390. That’s an increase of ₹6,390 ($ 100) over the course of two months.

The price hike isn’t limited to the iPhone X either, with all iPhone models costing 2% to 3.2% more. Here’s the breakdown of the new pricing:

Model Old price New price
iPhone 6 32GB ₹30,780 ₹31,900
iPhone 6s 32GB ₹41,550 ₹42,900
iPhone 6s 128GB ₹50,660 ₹52,100
iPhone 6s Plus 32GB ₹50,740 ₹52,240
iPhone 7 32GB ₹50,810 ₹52,370
iPhone 7 128GB ₹59,910 ₹61,560
iPhone 7 Plus 32GB ₹61,060 ₹62,840
iPhone 7 Plus 128GB ₹70,180 ₹72,060
iPhone 8 64GB ₹66,120 ₹67,940
iPhone 8 256GB ₹79,420 ₹81,500
iPhone 8 Plus 64GB ₹75,450 ₹77,560
iPhone 8 Plus 256GB ₹88,750 ₹91,110
iPhone X 64GB ₹92,430 ₹95,390
iPhone X 256GB ₹1,05,720 ₹1,08,930

Even the Apple Watch Series 3 wasn’t immune to the import duty hike, with the 38mm variant now set to cost ₹32,380 ($ 505), up from ₹29,900 ($ 465).

It is incredulous that the government is raising duties for the second time in as many months, effectively destroying Apple’s ability to compete effectively. Most Android manufacturers have set up local manufacturing facilities several years ago, so the move doesn’t affect the pricing of the Galaxy Note 8 or the multitude of phones Xiaomi sells in the country.

It’s clear what the hike in duties is designed to do: force companies to set up local manufacturing facilities. Apple has already committed to bolstering its efforts in this segment, but right now just the iPhone SE is assembled in India. With duties now at 20%, it’s no longer feasible for the company to import devices into India.

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Automation Will Replace a Staggering Number of Workers in Major Cities

At-Risk Cities

Experts have predicted that automation will take over a large number of jobs in the future, and now, a United Kingdom-based think-tank has analyzed the potential impact of automation in the U.K. Their newly released report confirms this vision of the future, while also highlighting the areas of the nation likely to be hardest hit.

The Centre for Cities’ “Cities Outlook 2018” report maps out how likely various urban centers in the U.K. are to experience job displacement due to intelligent automation. They determined that 20.2 percent of all workers in the nation’s 63 largest urban areas could be replaced by 2030.

That’s a total of roughly 3.6 million jobs, and according to the report, the cities in the nation’s northern, least wealthy areas are likely to be most affected.

Will Automation Steal My Job?
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Automation tends to affect administrative jobs, retail sales, customer services, and warehouse work. Those fields account for roughly 30 percent of jobs in Mansfield, the city likely to be hit the hardest by automation. Some 16 percent of workers in the Nottinghamshire town works in retail, while one in every 10 employees holds a job in a warehouse or as an admin.

Sunderland, Wakefield, Stoke, and Doncaster aren’t far behind Mansfield in terms of jobs at risk of automation. Meanwhile, Oxford and Cambridge, two cities in the U.K’s southern region, are expected to lose roughly 13 percent of jobs to machines, making them the least vulnerable cities.

A Global Trend

The Centre for Cities’ report is not the first to consider the impact of automation in the U.K. — a 2017 report from PricewaterhouseCooper predicted that 30 percent of jobs across the nation will be automated in the next 15 years.

Predictions for outside of the U.K. aren’t any better. In the U.S., job loss estimates range from 33 percent of jobs by 2030 to 47 percent of jobs by 2033. Around 137 million workers in Southeast Asia could lose their jobs to automation within the same period.

Automation is also likely to affect a wide range of jobs, not just those considered blue collar. Globally, the industries most likely to experience larger-scale worker displacement are transportation, sales and customer service, logistics, and healthcare.

According to the Centre for Cities’ report, the jobs most at risk of automation are those in which workers mainly complete routine tasks. Conversely, jobs that require workers to use their cognitive skills and interpersonal communication abilities could see growth.

While some are doing their best to halt automation, many experts suggest we should instead be focused on enacting policies that enable humans to work alongside machines.

Ben Bradley, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Mansfield, believes investing in training could help address problems caused by automation in the U.K. “It’s vital that places like Mansfield, where automation could have a big impact, are the focus for skills and investment in education,” he told The Guardian.

A number of experts agree that education and retraining are our best hope for coping with automation. Canada plans to invest in both, and a number of private companies are pursuing similar initiatives.

Education, however, isn’t the only option worth considering. Among the potential solutions to widespread automation are the establishment of some form of universal basic income (UBI) or the creation of a tax on robots.

At any rate, the trend is rather clear. Thanks to advances in artificial intelligence and robotics, automation is one of the biggest issues facing the future of employment, and if we don’t want huge swathes of people to find themselves jobless in the not-so-distant future, we need to do something to address it right now.

The post Automation Will Replace a Staggering Number of Workers in Major Cities appeared first on Futurism.


Experts Say Universal Basic Income Would Boost US Economy by Staggering $2.5 Trillion

UBI in the U.S.A.

In recent months, everyone from Elon Musk to Sir Richard Branson has come out in favor of universal basic income (UBI), a system in which every person receives a regular payment simply for being alive. Now, a study carried out by the Roosevelt Institute has concluded that implementing a UBI in the U.S. could have a positive effect on the nation’s economy.

The study looked at three separate proposals: a “basic income” of $ 1,000 per month given to every adult, a “base income” of $ 500 per month given to every adult, and a “child allowance” of $ 250 per month for every child. The researchers concluded that the larger the sum, the more significant the positive economic impact.

Universal Basic Income: The Answer to Automation?
Click to View Full Infographic

They projected that the $ 1,000 basic income would grow the economy by 12.56 percent over the course of eight years, after which point its effect would diminish. That would translate to an increase in the country’s gross domestic product of $ 2.48 trillion.

For the purposes of their study, the researchers assumed that the UBI in the U.S. would be funded by increasing the federal deficit. They also investigated the potential effect of funding it by increasing taxation on households, but found that route to be less effective.

“When paying for the policy by increasing taxes on households rather than paying for the policy with debt, the policy is not expansionary,” they wrote. “In effect, it is giving to households with one hand what it is taking away with the other. There is no net effect.”

Other Side of the Coin

The increased use of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation in the workplace might mean there’s less work to go around in the future. Proponents of universal basic income say it could help society avoid the problems caused by this increase in unemployment, but not everyone is so confident that such a scheme is the answer.

Max Sawicky, a former economist at the Economic Policy Institute, has argued that a basic income would not address the underlying problems that cause income equality and unemployment, such as an insufficient minimum wage and a lack of support for unions.

Additionally, restructuring welfare into a stipend given to all adults might make it more difficult to deliver targeted aid to those that need it the most — many proposals for UBI programs would see food stamps, unemployment checks, and other benefits discontinued to foot the bill.

Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel Laureate economist and an advisor to the Scottish government, shares similar concerns. Scotland is currently pursuing universal basic income trials, and in an interview with BBC News, Stiglitz said that a broad program might not be the best use of the nation’s available money.

“Should the scarce money be used to give everyone a basic amount, or should it be targeted at those who have particularly strong needs? I think there needs to be some targeting,” he said.

The biggest barrier to implementing a UBI in the U.S. on a large scale is the fact that it’s never been done before, successfully or otherwise. The $ 2.5 trillion boost to the economy predicted by the Roosevelt Institute could only be attained if the U.S. were to commit to giving every adult $ 1,000 per month for eight years, and that’s quite a huge commitment for something that may or may not pay off.

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Verizon pledges a staggering $10 million to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, making AT&T’s $350k seem like nothing

Verizon is committing an astonishing $ 10 million to support Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. A lot of you guys may not like Big Red, but it’s hard to deny that this is a stand-up move. Direct competitor AT&T donated a not-insignificant $ 350k, while Google plans on donating $ 2.25 million. In total, corporate America has thus far donated around $ 40.9 million.

In addition to its incredible $ 10 million donation, Verizon is waiving South Texas customers’ data, talk, and text charges, and giving prepaid customers an extra 3GB from August 26th to September 15th – a one-week extension over what had previously been announced.

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Verizon pledges a staggering $ 10 million to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, making AT&T’s $ 350k seem like nothing was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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